DHAKA: It was better than 1996 World Cup's windswept show at the Eden Gardens, but Thursday's World Cup 2011 opening ceremony at the Bangabandhu Stadium here tasted like overcooked biryani
Pics: World Cup opening ceremony
It was good in parts, but for most part it was bland even though an estimated 25,000 fans inside the arena and twice the number outside, sampled the two-hour programme that resembled a big-budget community cultural show rather than the opening night of the biggest show in cricket.
It is a pity really, for it had all the trappings of a super show. There was simply no one to put it together into big, colourful bouquet.
The captains' rickshaw ride was supposed to be one of the highlights of the show, but it failed to enthuse the spectators as the skippers were almost hidden under the colourful hoods that ought to have been kept folded in the first place.
It was a colossal waste of star power as 14 captains of the world's top teams were made to stand like statues on the white, circular stage, but were given no other role to play in what essentially was their own function. They looked suitably bemused Sonu Niigaam sang "Let's go for glory", the spirit of cricket song, and vanished before you could shout "one more".
Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina kept her speech short and sweet before duly declaring the World Cup 2011 open. ICC president Sharad Pawar started in broken Bengali, but switched to English after only two lines.
An interesting laser beam show, with LED kites in participating teams' colours, was the most appreciated item of the night till Runa Laila enthralled with her foot-tapping number dam-a-dam mast kalandar" and Shankar, Ehsan and Loy got together to sing the immensely popular World Cup theme song "De ghuma ke".
The cultural section show, where Indian, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi artistes performed owed its lustre to thousands of schoolchildren in colourful attire who danced all evening even as Dhaka's night sky was lit up from time to time by dazzling fireworks that formed an impressive backdrop to the show.
With opening ceremony tickets priced as high as Taka 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000, spectators, who had to queue up for hours to get into the stadium, had every reason to feel let down by a show that even Bryan Adams could not lift with his versatility.